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Commonwealth Fusion, Backed by Gates, Soros, Benioff, Raises $1.8B

Commonwealth Fusion's investors include Google, Bill Gates and funds controlled by George Soros and Marc Benioff.
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Investors are piling into Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a nuclear fusion startup that has raised more than $1.8 billion in the largest private investment ever in the industry. 

Investors in the latest funding round for the Massachusetts-based company include Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and George Soros via his Soros Fund Management, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Other investors in the company's most recent funding round include Google  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report, Silicon Valley venture-capital firm DFJ Growth and Salesforce  (CRM) - Get salesforce.com, inc. Report CEO Marc Benioff's TIME Ventures. 

The technology behind nuclear fusion has long been seen as the future of renewable energy usage, but no company has been able to successfully disrupt the current nuclear energy apparatus that relies on nuclear fission. 

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“Everything is science fiction until someone does it and then all of a sudden it goes from impossible to inevitable,” Commonwealth Chief Executive Bob Mumgaard told the Journal. 

Commonwealth, which was spun out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018, is one of a handful of startups that haven't been able to create net energy machines while also delivering the power to the grid on the scale of a power plant. 

However, Mumgaard expects this funding round to power the next big step in the company's development: building a net-energy fusion machine that it plans to unveil by 2025. 

Currently, the world's largest fusion project is ITER, a $22 billion multinational government-funded project in France, according to the Journal. 

Scientist say that delayed project in on track to create superheated plasma by the end of 2025. Full fusion isn't expected until 2035.